206 esposito ssp-presentation_june07


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206 esposito ssp-presentation_june07

  1. 1. Thinking inside the BoxPublishing Journals with a University Press Joseph J. Esposito (espositoj@gmail.com) SSP Conference San Francisco June 2007
  2. 2. Topics• The situation at Human Factors• A methodology for assessing a publishing organization• Crystal ball: 5 years out• When consolidation works, and when it doesn’t• What a university press can and cannot do• Not the solution for all publishers
  3. 3. Assumptions about Human Factors• Small organization• Membership receives some or all publications for free (as part of membership fee)• Several markets: academic libraries, industry, government• No rich endowment to draw on
  4. 4. Strategic Issues for Human Factors• Membership “creams off” best customers (because they get publications for free)• Lack of scale limits range of activity and effectiveness in marketplace• Lack of capital inhibits investments in technology• Diverse marketing channels strain marketing infrastructure• Success of program could invite unwelcome competition from better-resourced publishers
  5. 5. Survey of University Press Journal Operations• Wide range, from 1 journal to 50 or more• Profitability/(unprofitability) varies• Some presses (5-10) have achieved some scale of operations (but none compare to Elsevier, Wiley Blackwell, et al)• Larger journal programs all have online solutions• Can manage print as well as digital eds.• Part of academic, not-for-profit community
  6. 6. Crystal Ball (5 Years Out)• Academic libraries push print to the margin• Increasing purchasing by library consortia• Consortia show preference for digital aggregations (Big and Little Deals)• Investment in technology soars• Consolidation, consolidation, consolidation• Niche channels outside libraries require focused effort• Open access finds its place, but does not supplant “user-pays” publications
  7. 7. Why Choose a University Press?• Immediate benefit of scale of operations; provides (almost) complete infrastructure• Online solutions in place, but can also handle hardcopy• Emerging opportunity to create and market aggregations (“Little Deals”)• Good library relations for most part• Part of NFP, academic community• Potential for editorial cross-fertilization
  8. 8. Is This Press Right for You?• Society commitment to NFP sector?• Experience with marketing aggregations?• Related titles to bring to aggregations (of growing importance)?• Flexible software to serve diverse channels?• Flexible business arrangements?• University commitment to its Press (critical)?
  9. 9. What to Look for in a Deal• Identified account manager; bench strength• Transparent and detailed financial arrangement; good systems• Availability of senior staff to meet with society leaders• Unambiguous evidence of ability to work in print and online• Editorial synergy (esp. for aggregations)• Option to reserve some marketing rights• 5-year mutual commitment
  10. 10. Is Human Factors a Good Candiate for a University Press?• Benefit from library marketing• Solves technology investment problem• NFP alignment (Is this important?)• Could benefit from editorial linkages, esp. for aggregations• Almost certainly must retain marketing rights for industry and government• Need to assess geographical footprint
  11. 11. Recommendations• Do not proceed without a publishing partner• Prepare RFP; submit to 2-3 university presses and 2 commercial publishers• Include in RFP a 5-year vision statement without platitudes. This is the single most important success factor.• Identify metrics for success, both quantitative and qualitative• Have proposals reviewed by experienced publishers• Do not under any circumstances compromise the editorial integrity of your program